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Stacey Dooley reacts to reports she prompted Kevin Clifton’s Strictly departure

Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley (Guy Levy/PA)
Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley (Guy Levy/PA)

Stacey Dooley has said that suggestions she was involved in her boyfriend Kevin Clifton’s decision to quit Strictly Come Dancing were like “complete fantasy”.

The professional dancer, 37, departed the show this month, saying “the time has come to move on and focus on other areas of my life and career”.

Clifton’s decision came after he won the Glitterball trophy for the first time in 2018, with Dooley as his celebrity partner, after seven years on the show.

Strictly Come Dancing 2018
Kevin Clifton and Stacey Dooley lift the Glitterball trophy (Guy Levy/PA)

During an appearance on BBC Radio 5 Live, Dooley was asked whether she was hurt by reports she had encouraged Clifton to quit.

The documentary-maker sarcastically said: “Kevin is obviously totally incapable of making decisions for himself so I swooped in and saved the day.”

She added: “As if it’s got anything to do with me, what he does for a living.

“I think he’s got things that are lined up that I’ll let him tell people about.”

Asked whether she laughed at the reports, she said: “At the start it hurts but you have to realise it’s like story time. It’s complete fantasy…”

Dooley said increased interest in her personal life was misplaced because she was “painfully dull”.

“It’s certainly changed over the last year or two,” she said.

National Television Awards 2019 – Press Room – London
Stacey Dooley with Strictly co-hosts Claudia Winkleman and Tess Daly (Ian West/PA)

“The thing is, I’m painfully dull. I am so boring. I have these people stood outside my house.

“I don’t know what they expect to see because it’s me taking out the bins in my tracksuit.”

Dooley praised BBC bosses for warning her about the implications of winning the show but said she had still “underestimated” the “enormity” of it.

She said: “They are fairly forthcoming at the start. They are quite transparent.

“The exec will sit you down and say that there’s this insatiable appetite for information and gossip surrounding Strictly.

“They explain that there will be people desperate to ask you questions and know about your personal life.

“I definitely underestimated the enormity of the show.

“If you do that show, unfortunately it’s one of negatives that come with it.

“But the positives far outweigh the negatives.”

Nihal Arthanayake is on BBC Radio 5 Live every Monday to Thursday between 1pm and 4pm.

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